Nations allied to Saudi Arabia have joined diplomatic action against Iran, amid a row over the Saudi execution of Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Bahrain and Sudan have both followed Saudi Arabia and cut diplomatic relations with Iran. Bahrain has demanded that Iranian diplomats leave the country within 48 hours.
The UAE has downgraded its diplomatic team and announced it is planning to cut the number of Iranian diplomats it allows to be in the country.
The BBC reports:
Saudi Arabia on Sunday gave Iranian diplomats two days to leave after an attack on its embassy in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are the key Sunni and Shia powers in the region and back opposing sides in Syria and Yemen.
Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni Muslim king but has a majority Shia population, on Monday gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.
It accused Iran of “increasing, flagrant and dangerous meddling” in the internal affairs of Gulf and Arab states.
It said the attack on the Saudi embassy was part of a “very dangerous pattern of sectarian policies that should be confronted… to preserve security and stability in the entire region”.
Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, has frequently accused Iran of supporting a low-level Shia insurgency that flared following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.
The United Arab Emirates said it was downgrading its diplomatic representation in Tehran and will cut the number of Iranian diplomats in the country.
There are fears sectarian strife may spread in the region following the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others in Saudi Arabia on Saturday after they were convicted of terror-related offences.
On Monday, two Sunni mosques in Iraq were bombed and an imam killed.